As a new Australian law intensifies the long-running battle between publishers and the two tech giants gobbling up digital advertising money, Google last week struck deals with companies like Rupert Murdoch and Reuters, while Facebook has taken another route: shutting down mainland news. Prime Minister Scott Morrison railed against “Facebook’s actions to get rid of Australia” on Facebook, where else? Now, less than a week after turning off the news tap, Facebook will once again allow Australian users to share and view news on its platform in the coming days, the company announced on Monday, lifting the ban. temporary measure it had imposed in response to legislation that would have required it to pay Australian publishers for news content.
The reversal came after the Australian government agreed to concessions to its new media code which, among other things, appeared to give Facebook more time to strike enough deals with publishers to avoid the harshest parts of the law. proposed legislation, New York Times reports. Facebook’s ban and Google’s opposing approach was the culmination of a long-running opposition between tech companies and the Australian government over the proposed legislation. Facebook and Google had both opposed the new law, particularly its inclusion of “a code of conduct that would allow media companies to negotiate individually or collectively with digital platforms over the value of their news content. “. Time reports. The code contained “final arbitration” terms, allowing third parties to set the price of news content if the platform and publisher could not reach a payment agreement themselves, forcing the giants to technology to negotiate and limiting their power.
In August, Facebook threatened to block news from its site if the bill went ahead, and Google last month threatened to shut down its search engine altogether in the country due to the legislation, which would force Google to pay for the information websites to which it generally links. search results—close passage. But while Google eventually backtracked on that claim in recent deals with publishers, such as Murdoch’s News Corp., Facebook followed through on its threat and shut down. Facebook’s ban last week not only prevented all users in Australia from seeing any news content, whether from Australian or non-Australian publishers, but also prevented all global users from sharing links. to Australian news publishers.
However, Facebook changed course on Monday because Campbell Brown, vice president of global partnerships for news at Facebook, said the Australian government “clarified that we will retain the ability to decide whether news appears on Facebook so that we are not automatically subject to forced negotiation” and that the company had “come to an agreement that will allow us to support the publishers we choose, including small local publishers.”
Facebook’s temporary ban on sharing information quickly exposed the larger conflict at play, namely the power the tech giants wield over publishers, Axios reports. While the bill was intended to help publishers, data shows that Facebook’s response – cutting off all link sharing – resulted in a significant loss of traffic for regional publishers. The ban would have temporarily blocked the Facebook pages of Australian state agencies, health services and emergency services providing essential information and, amid the media vacuum, provided an opportunity for false or misleading information to be reported. ‘install, according to the Time. “In just a few days, we’ve seen the damage that spreading information can do,” said the Stony Brook professor. Sree Sreenivasan says the newspaper. “Misinformation and misinformation, already a problem on the platform, has surged to fill the void.”
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